Curatorial Intern Project #4: Jessica Sass ’22: Radical Learning Beyond Incarceration

Virtual Exhibition: Radical Learning Beyond Incarceration

Radical Learning Beyond Incarceration explores how art uses the power of creativity to shape opinion and provide incarcerated people a medium of healing.  This is true for the subject of incarceration, as it is for any other issue. New platforms such as art help to elevate the discussion surrounding incarceration, erase the stigma, and break the cycle of hegemonic stereotypes. Radical Learning Beyond Incarceration follows the journey of one man in the system who utilized artistic expression to confront his trauma and understand his own accountability. The exhibition is a story about the process of healing. The artworks showcased communicate ideas that extend far beyond the canvas. These artworks are rooted in this ongoing journey and express hope for unification of society, for the perpetrator and for the victim.

Stan Hunter, the artist showcased in Radical Learning Beyond Incarceration, shares a deep passion for art as a rehabilitation tool. He says, “a paintbrush changed the trajectory of my life.” Stan was released from his 30-year sentence in January 2019, however, his artistry and community was built long before his release. Stan was introduced to “the power of a paintbrush.” Yet, he found his calling with his paintbrush in hand being able to paint the trajectory of his life after prison. Initially, art was a selfish pursuit he said, to find solace and a way to connect with his family while he was incarcerated. He soon realized the importance of sharing “the power” among other inmates and collectively, transforming prison walls.

The works in Radical Learning Beyond Incarceration are realistic portraits of animals that were made for his children. While each work was created with the intention of connecting to his children, the work became much more meaningful. Breaking down the hierarchies in nature of man being above all lends itself to the idea of healing. Our society creates boundaries, enforcing a clear separation and hierarchy. In Stan’s eyes, we must break down those boundaries in order to authentically experience healing and equity. 

Radical Learning Beyond Incarceration is curated by Jessica Sass, a second year student at Pitzer College majoring in Media Studies and Political Studies. Her curatorial lens channels Stan Hunter’s complex world view and his belief in art as a tool for rehabilitation and self-healing. These ideas are reflected in the captions for each animal portrait, which are Sass’ interpretation of his work and her understanding of his journey. The works are painted in a hyper-realist style and are universally accessible.

Friday, May 8,  2020, 10:45 a.m., PST
Programming for Radical Learning Beyond Incarceration includes a virtual artist talk with Stan Hunter, followed be a brief Q & A. We hope that you will join us on Zoom for this event.

To view the virtual exhibition in slide show format, with Jessica Sass’ accompanying text, click on any of the images below.

The 2020 Curatorial Internship Project #4 by Jessica Sass ’22 is the fourth chapter in the ongoing series of art exhibitions realized through the Curatorial Apprenticeship course created and taught by Ciara Ennis, PhD., Pitzer College Art Galleries Director and Pitzer College Head of Curatorial Affairs.